Day 1 – Your Fairy Art Parents

It’s Day 1! Let’s get started!

After we finish these five days, you will have a really strong sense of why you’re writing.

  • What you SHOULD be writing.
  • What your SHOULDN’T be writing.
  • WHO your role models and mentors are
  • How to stay on track and truly BELIEVE that you are a writer and you should be doing this work.

Over the next 5 days we’re going to create your ‘Writer’s Manifesto’, a document that will help you understand why writing matters to you and what you want to bring into the world, through you creativity.

It acts as a decision-filter for the way you work on every scene, every story, every piece.

Two Examples

When I was procrastinating on revisions to a story, I wasn’t sure what was wrong. Then I looked at my Writer’s Manifesto and realized that the cynical little story I had drafted didn’t match my goals for me, as a writer and human.

That realization freed me to let that draft go, and work on something better…which came much more easily.

Likewise, in trying to write a scene in my novel, it kept trending to a tone that didn’t match what I had written as my aspirations for my work. Remembering that allowed me to find a better tone for the scene, which then flowed better, because I believed in it more.

STEP 1 OF YOUR MANIFESTO


We start by figuring out who we admire, as creative — who are our ‘Fairy Art Parents’…

TASK


Write a list of creative people you admire and what attracts you to them.

Don’t spend too long on this.

For example, I wrote:

Amanda Palmer. For her commitment to making the art that only she can make and for finding ways to get paid for it. outwith traditional structures. And for her commitment to openness.

Mary Robinette Kowal science fiction, fantasy author, whose pursuit of the craft of writing and storytelling is detailed and, logical. For her willingness to share that with others and to keep on turning out her own work and building an audience at the same time.

Nick Stevenson for what I call his calculated openheartedness, the way that he communicates with his readers.

Kim Stanley Robinson for his unique style and optimism.

Neil Gaiman for the same things, and for the literary family tree that he grew out of.

Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams for their quirky style, their humor, their big ideas and for the fact that what I get from them. I can only get from them.

WRITE YOUR LIST

  • So write down your list of people who inspire you, writers, artists, creative types.
  • And then write down what it is that each of those people. What you admire about them and the way that they do business.

Today’s is a tiny task, but it lays the foundation for the really important process that we’re going through this week.

We’ll be back tomorrow to take the next step with this list that you’re making today.

Who did you pick as your Fairy Art Parents. Leave a comment and let us know!

Keep writing,

Julie (signed)

P. S. Have a friend who should be going through this challenge with you? Send them a link to sign up at storyaday.org/jan-challenge

Creative Rebellion – Episode 275

Join us as we talk about building a productive writing practice, no matter what…..

It’s an end-of-year episode with a twist (hint: don’t want to set New Year’s Resolutions? Join the rebellious crowd!)

Listen to the Audio

Full transcript here

Watch the video

Watch video with full transcript here

LINKS:

LINKS:

More Writing Help

StoryADay Short Story Framework

Download the free Short Story Framework and write today, not ‘some day’. Go from ‘idea’ to ‘the end’ without getting lost along the way!

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Weekly writing prompts and lessons in your inbox, every Wednesday with the StoryAWeek Newsletter

StoryaDay 3-Day Challenge

Take the 3-Day Challenge and write three short stories this weekend!

Where’s My Butler? An Interview with Mary Robinette Kowal about the writing life – Part 2

Join us as we talk about building a productive writing practice, no matter what…..

My conversation continues, with award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal as we discuss her new novel The Spare Man and the art of writing even in the face of challenges. Don’t miss it!

Listen to the Audio

Watch the video

Watch video with full transcript here

LINKS:

LINKS:

More Writing Help

StoryADay Short Story Framework

Download the free Short Story Framework and write today, not ‘some day’. Go from ‘idea’ to ‘the end’ without getting lost along the way!

StoryAWeek logo

Weekly writing prompts and lessons in your inbox, every Wednesday with the StoryAWeek Newsletter

StoryaDay 3-Day Challenge

Take the 3-Day Challenge and write three short stories this weekend!

An Interview with Mary Robinette Kowal about writing “The Spare Man” – Part 1

Join us as we talk about writing, cocktails and the art of writing what you don’t know…

Murder! Cocktails! Adorable service dogs!

Award-winning author Mary Robinette Kowal comes to the StoryADay podcast to discuss her new novel The Spare Man and the art of writing books you’d actually want to read. Don’t miss it!

Listen to the Audio

Watch the video

Watch video with full transcript here

LINKS:

LINKS
MaryRobinette.com
Mary Robinette Kowal’s Patreon
My Favorite Bit (10 best Fantine curses) 

More Writing Help

StoryADay Short Story Framework

Download the free Short Story Framework and write today, not ‘some day’. Go from ‘idea’ to ‘the end’ without getting lost along the way!

StoryAWeek logo

Weekly writing prompts and lessons in your inbox, every Wednesday with the StoryAWeek Newsletter

StoryaDay 3-Day Challenge

Take the 3-Day Challenge and write three short stories this weekend!

It’s Annual Review Time!

Don’t be afraid!

it’s that time of year when you’re supposed to make goals, but how to do it without getting bored, scared, disappointed or terrified? I have some thoughts…

Listen to the Audio

LINKS:

Never miss an episode: Subscribe to the Podcast

Link to this episode: https://storyaday.org/episode272

Join the discussion in the Serious Writers’ Accountability Group (SWAGr)

Need something to help you get closer to your purpose while setting or assessing your goals?

Get the Annual Planning Bundle

Read the accompanying article

Get writing prompts and lessons in your inbox every week with the StoryAWeek Newsletter

Annual Planning Bundle

Download the Annual Planning Bundle and always know your next, smallest step as you chase your writing goals.

Goals are Disruptive

This simple phrase changed everything for me, this week.

This was a massive (and kinda obvious) disruption to my thought processes this week. It goes deeper than simple fixes, but is much more likely to have a real impact on your writing life…and your quality of life. Enjoy!

Listen to the Audio

Watch the video

LINKS:

Never miss an episode: Subscribe to the Podcast

Link to this episode: https://storyaday.org/episode269

Join the discussion in the Serious Writers’ Accountability Group (SWAGr)

Need something to help you get closer to your purpose while setting or assessing your goals?

Get the Keep Writing Workbook

Get writing prompts and lessons in your inbox every week with the StoryAWeek Newsletter

Download the Keep Writing Workbook and always know your next, smallest step as you chase your writing goals.

What Do You Do in The Pause?

I wrote this story on the blog this week, but in this week’s podcast you get a more complete version, along with some thoughts about what to do if you’re In The Pause

I wrote this story on the blog this week, but in this week’s podcast you get a more complete version, along with some thoughts about what to do if you’re In The Pause

Listen to the Audio

Watch the video

LINKS:

Get the Keep Writing Workbook

Get writing prompts and lessons in your inbox every week with the StoryAWeek Newsletter

Download the Keep Writing Workbook and always know your next, smallest step as you chase your writing goals.

Preparing for NaNoWriMo?

Everyone you know seems to be preparing for National Novel Writers’ Month. Are you?

I’ve done a few challenges in my time (from StoryADay to NaNoWriMo) and I have some questions for you about how you’re preparing and what you’ll do instead-of/as-well-as outlining to sustain you through the month.

Listen to the Audio

Watch the video

LINKS:

Get the Creative Challenge Workbook

Save The Cat Writes A Novel, Jessica Brody

Dan Wells’s 7-Point Story Structure

Romancing The Beat, Gwen Hayes

(some of these links are Amazon affiliate links, but you should feel free to look for these books wherever you like to buy/borrow books.

Join the Critique Week Waitlist

Get writing prompts and lessons in your inbox every week with the StoryAWeek Newsletter

P. S. Want to read about That Time I Met NaNoWriMo Founder Chris Baty, and how, sometimes, doing a scary thing turns out to be wonderful?

Who Do You Listen To?

In which I tell you what my critique partners said about my latest pages…

Listen to the Audio

Watch now

Watch the video

It’s dangerous to allow rejections, acceptances, marketing budgets or any other business-related nonsense to determine your worth as a writer.

So who should you be listening to? In this episode, I have some thoughts…

LINKS
StoryADay Critique Week: https://stada.me/critique

LINKS:

QR Code for stada.me/critique

Join us in Critique Week

Take the 3-Day Challenge

Get writing prompts and lessons in your inbox every week with the StoryAWeek Newsletter

Soaring

How to soar in your writing life…and as a result, the WHOLE of your life.

Listen to the Audio

Watch now

What do you need to do to help you soar in your writing life? Join me for a Lesson in Creative Thermodynamics!

LINKS:

See the illustration and leave a comment on the Lesson In Creative Thermodynamics

Take the 3-Day Challenge

Endlessly Inspired

This week we take a look at the publishing industry, your goals, and how you can become endlessly inspired and creative…

Learning about the realities of the publishing industry can free you to create your own definition of success (that may or may not include traditional publishers). Step 1 towards success is to imagine your vision. Step 2 is to turn up for your writing, something the new StoryAWeek newsletter can help with!

For industry perspective: Jane Friedman’s The Hot Sheet: https://hotsheetpub.com/

Leave a comment about this episode: https://storyaday/episode259

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A Writer’s Vacation

This week I talk about the  creative boost I got from my recent travels, and how you can get a similar boost in your writing life, without even leaving home.

This week I talk about the  creative boost I got from my recent travels, and how you can get a similar boost in your writing life, without even leaving home.

I also tease some of the upcoming events at StoryADay as we look towards the change in seasons.

Want more?

Join me at the Writer Unboxed OnConference 2022: https://writerunboxed.com/2022/08/05/writer-unboxed-onconference-community-focus/

Get the StoryADay Short Story Framework: https://storyaday.org/framework

Networking Without Nerves, a conversation with Coach Larissa Sjarbaini

Crafting a writing life isn’t all about knowing where to put commas and how to develop characters. It’s also about engaging with other humans. This week I’m in conversation with Larissa Sjarbaini, a high performance coach, about how to do that and why you might want to, even if you’re an extreme introvert. And stay tuned for an opportunity to develop your own game plan for a writing life

LINKS

Set Yourself Up For Success sign up now!

Something Has To Change

It’s not just your protagonist who must change!

In a story your protagonist faces the possibility of change before they can  solve the problem they face, win their true love, or defeat their enemy…in short, achieve their heart’s desire.

Funny thing is: as writers, we face that moment of decision too.

That’s what I’m talking about on the podcast this week.

Q&A For May 2022

We got together this morning for a writing sprint and to get some questions asked and answered, about the challenge.

Watch it now:

I know it was too early for some of you, but I opened up a Q&A session about StoryADay May this morning and recorded it, so you don’t have to miss out.

Some of the questions answered:

  • When do the prompts arrive (and how)?
  • Where do we comment?
  • Should we post our stories somewhere?
  • What are Story Sparks?
  • What will the Fun-Size Challenge tasks be like? 
  • What if I ‘fail’?


You can watch me, and some veteran StoryADay writers, tackle these questions in  the replay here or, if you’re subscribed to the StoryADay Podcast the audio version of it should show up in your feed today.

SIGN UP FOR STORYADAY MAY 2022

If you haven’t yet signed up to participate in the Classic Challenge or the Fun-Size Challenge, you can do that here.

(If you have signed up already you would have received a “Day 0” email from me, yesterday. No need to do anything further.)
If you don’t sign up, I can’t send you daily emails during the challenge, but you’ll still get my weekly(ish) notes of encouragement.

Still have questions? Post’em below.

Haven’t signed up yet? Get on that!

Everything Else, We Can Learn

Do you believe that you have a right to write? Not that people in general have a general right to be creative. Do you believe that you, specifically, have a right to write? Even if it takes time away from your partner, even if it takes time away from your kid, even if, even if, even if…

Do you believe you have a right to write? Do you believe your voice is important? Do you believe your voice matters?

Mindset is I’m coming to believe more than half the battle when it comes to writing. Everything else? We can, we can learn as we need it. I think getting that in place is huge.

If you need a place that’s snug and safe, to work on your writing practice, consider joining us in the I, WRITER Course. Find out more.

[Writing Prompt] A Rose By Any Other Name

In keeping with this month’s theme of Achieving Wins and Celebrating, limit yourself to 1000 words for this story and just get it done.


The Prompt

Write a story that starts at the end. The story must include a flower.

Tips

  • I’ve given you the restriction of including a flower, because when we have too much freedom it is paralyzing. I bet as soon as I said ‘flower’ your mind starting turning over how it could get a flower into a story.
  • Starting at the end is a fun way to tell a story. It’s a fun for the reader, as they try to unpick the puzzle of how your character ended up *here*. It’s good for the writer because we aren’t tempted to write a story-with-no-point. We know it’s going somewhere and we have to figure out how to get there!
  • All our stories should be about something, should hvae a point, should make the reader say ‘ah, yes, I must keep reading to find out why…”. Often, in the process of writing our ideas, we forget this, or get lost in the details. Telling a story in reverse (or at least starting at the end and jumping back in time) is a great exercise to cure us of this.
  • Brainstorm some ways your story could start that would intrigue a reader. Is your character standing on the roof of a building looking over the edge? Are they running? Are the police leading them away? Are they laughing gleefully as someone plunges a knife through their heart? (Yes, more Star Trek references! Bonus points if you can identify the episode.)
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If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

5 Tips for A Successful NaNoWriMo

It is November and you know what that means? The whole writing world has been taken over by NaNoWriMo. 

As someone who has been participating in and leading creative challenges for over a decade, I have some tips to help you make the most of this month of extreme creativity.

Continue reading “5 Tips for A Successful NaNoWriMo”

Write on Wednesday – Quick Story Formula

This is an awesome way to quickly launch (and finish) a new story, any time you have time to write but are short on inspiration. Try it!

 

Use this story formula to to create an interesting character, give them a desire, kick off some intriguing action and plan the kind of resolution you want. Continue reading “Write on Wednesday – Quick Story Formula”

[Write on Wed] Story Sparks for May 2018

We’re less than a month away from StoryADay May 2018.

Yes, I’m going to be providing you with optional writing prompts. The best stories, however, come from ideas that you care about.

You can use my prompts, but it is going to be the sparks of ideas that you collect, that ignite your stories.

That’s why, before every challenge, I encourage you to gather Story Sparks, fragments of maybe-story-ideas.

The Prompt

Gather three Story Sparks a day for the next week.

Tips

  • Read this post on Story Sparks, with some ideas to get you started.
  • Read the “Secrets To Your Success” article from the StoryADay Essentials series, which defines a Story Spark and how you can use them to ‘win’ StoryADay.
  • If you’re already on the mailing list, dig out the Creativity Bundle you received when you subscribed, and use the Story Sparks Catchers I created for you. If you aren’t on the mailing list, sign up to get your Story Sparks Bundle now!

The StoryADay Productivity Bundle sign up button

If you collect three Story Sparks a day now, you will

  • Gather 21 interesting nuggets for inclusion in stories, this week alone
  • Start looking at the world like a writer does: it’s all material
  • Train your brain to start thinking creatively
  • Be bursting with ideas when you sit down to write!

Go!

[Write On Wednesday] A Prose Sonnet

Today’s prompt continues the month’s theme of looking at different short story forms you can try out.

This one’s a challenge, but really fun.

Right-click to download the audio only

The Prompt

Write a story in 14 sentences

Tips

  • You can simply write 14 sentences.
  • You could use the Petrarchan form of sonnet where the first 8 lines/sentences propose an argument or an idea and the second 8 answer or refute it.
  • You could use the Shakespearean form, with three groups of 4 linked sentences, followed by two lines/sentences that provide illumination, a revelation, a twist or an explanation.
  • You could write a sonnet series, with each group of 14 lines fulfilling a different function in your story.
  • Writing this way is hard but it frees you. Instead of worrying about writing well, you’re concentrating on the form. Sometimes that tricks your brain into writing really well; sometimes it’s just a triumph to have written at all.

Leave a comment telling us how it went!